A couple of our Year 13 students, Fergus Guiry and Yolanda Gumpo, shared their thoughts with us on boarding at Heden Hall and Heden Court, here at Seaford College.
Why did you choose Seaford?
Fergus: The sport is really good, and Seaford’s academic focus and individual attention is second to none. Yolanda: I love the music department and I’m a music scholar. Seaford is known to be excellent at academic and extra-curricular pursuits as well as pastoral care.
What do you like about Seaford both from an academic and an extra-curricular perspective?
Fergus & Yolanda: There is a massive range of extra-curricular activities, from sport to CCF, music, art, drama and all the
adventure stuff, it’s such a bonus. From an academic perspective, the teachers at Seaford actually care about your learning. In the Sixth Form there are smaller classes and everything is a lot more concentrated. The teachers know you very well, they know how you learn and they care a lot, which really helps us to do well. You really feel like you have the freedom to be who you want to be.
How have you found the transition from GCSE to A Level?
Fergus & Yolanda: We’ve really liked it: at A Level there are fewer subjects, whereas at GCSE you study eleven or twelve. It’s a lot more concentrated, and although it does get harder, we’ve really enjoyed it because we love the subjects we study, and you get to go into them in a lot more depth.
Fergus, how do you balance you studies with your rugby? Do you train every day?
During the season I will train every day either at Seaford or with London Irish, and I get a lot of support with my timetable from my teachers. I make sure that I get work done in my free periods. I also have prep for 2 hours in Heden every evening, so I will get my work done. I have been able to balance my workload and my rugby. I really enjoy being Vice Captain, I’ve enjoyed seeing how all the boys have progressed from Year 7 and Year 8, and how different players progress
and take on different attributes. My leadership skills have improved as well; I feel really confident in front of a big group, which will help me in the future.
Yolanda, how do you balance you studies with your music? Do you practice every day?
I agree with Fergus, we get a lot of support from our teachers with our studies and this gives me time to focus on my music. I’m in the school choirs and in the Jazz Band. I do my academic work in my free periods and after the 2 hours of prep in the evening I go to the Music Department and do 2 hours of practice every day. It doesn’t feel like work though because I love it. I’m also on the School Council and like making a difference to the community. It’s fun and I like being in charge.
What are your plans for the future?
Fergus: I’d like to get a professional contract with London Irish, my back up plan is to study International Business at University. Yolanda: I’d like to follow in the footsteps of Tom Odell (who studied at Seaford) and I’m going to the same university. I’m going to the BIMM in Brighton to do a song writing course and I want to be a professional singer and song writer. How does boarding at Heden Hall compare to your experience of boarding at the other houses?
Fergus & Yolanda: Heden is a lot more grown-up. Everyone in Heden is deciding what they want to do in the future: whether they’re going to university, having a gap year, or getting an army scholarship. If you want to go to university, then you have to put the work in. Dr Pothecary & Mrs Reynolds make that really clear, and they really motivate us. We feel grown up and self-motivated. We’ve also introduced a bowling league which is great fun.
Do you think Heden is good preparation for university halls?
Fergus & Yolanda: Heden definitely prepares you for university life; it’s really up to you to do the work. We’re not spoon fed, we have independence and we are learning about organisation and preparation, so we are really young adults now. There is a lot of responsibility and trust and we have both really matured.
Do you think you will be lifelong friends with the other boarders?
Yolanda: You learn to get along with people from all walks of life and that is great life experience for the future. I like the time when the boys and girls socialise together, I like having a mixed group of friends. Fergus: They’re really good mates, and I would definitely see most of them as lifelong friends. I enjoy the social time in the common room where the boys and girls socialise together. I like the balance this gives.
What are the main benefits of boarding at Seaford?
Fergus & Yolanda: It’s very good from a work perspective. You get the work done, if you’re a day pupil it’s harder, you go home and eat and lounge about. Also, there are all the activities, you’re never bored. It’s like a sleepover with all of your
mates, and there’s never a dull moment.
What do you like about Dr Pothercarys’ and Mrs Reynolds’ style as a Houseparent?
Fergus: Dr Pothercary is laid back, disciplined, reasonable and treats you like an adult. He listens and will make improvements from our suggestions. He is keen that we enjoy ourselves and work hard. It’s a good ethic. Yolanda: Mrs Reynolds is firm but fair. She gives us the space we need and it’s good preparation for university. She helps us see the consequences of our decisions. She is friendly, a lot of fun and has a great sense of humour. They also both have experience with their own teenagers and work well as a team to unite the two Heden houses.